Reviewing ACC Tournament Tuesday

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on March 11th, 2015

ACC Microsite writers Matt Patton and Brad Jenkins will be reporting live from Greensboro at the 2015 ACC Tournament throughout the week.

It was a surprisingly exciting pair of games that we witnessed on the first day of the 2015 ACC Tournament. In the opener, 12th-seeded Boston College and All-ACC first teamer Olivier Hanlan rallied late to edge 13th-seeded Georgia Tech, 66-65. After that, 14th-seeded Virginia Tech held off a late charge by Wake Forest to slip past the 11th-seeded Deacons by a score of 81-80. All four teams competed hard, and while there were plenty of airballs, silly fouls, and missed defensive assignments — these squads entered Tuesday at least five games south of .500 on the year — for most of the afternoon, the sparse opening-day crowd certainly left the Greensboro Coliseum entertained. Here are some takeaways on each team:

Virginia Tech freshman Jalen Hudson set a school ACC Tournament scoring record in the Hokies win over Wake Forest. (USA Today Images)

Virginia Tech freshman Jalen Hudson set a school ACC Tournament scoring record in the Hokies win over Wake Forest. (USA Today Images)

Georgia Tech (12-19): Attention in Atlanta will now turn to the coaching status of Brian Gregory with the season now complete. When you look at his four-year win totals (11-16-16-12), it’s tough to make a compelling case for keeping Gregory in charge of the program. While it’s true that Georgia Tech was incredibly unlucky this year — the Jackets were 0-11 in ACC games decided by five points or less, or in overtime — many will view that failure as the head coach’s responsibility. Offense has been bad for his entire tenure, with the team ranking outside the top-200 in adjusted offensive efficiency three out of four years. In fact, it’s fair to say that the only thing Georgia Tech has done well under his direction is to rebound the ball. Per the recent norm for ACC schools when a coach misses the NCAA Tournament in each of his first four years at the helm, look for a change to be made this spring.

Wake Forest (13-19): Danny Manning’s inaugural season in charge of the Demon Deacons came to an end Tuesday afternoon with mixed results. The team’s overall and ACC win total were both slightly down from last year, but there’s hope that a new culture may be emerging at Wake Forest after an adjustment year. Manning is reportedly doing well on the recruiting trail and he started three freshmen for much of the year, so it looks like the talent level is being upgraded. Next year’s success will depend a lot on how much growing up his youngsters do in the offseason, but perhaps more importantly, rising seniors Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas will need to improve their consistency and prove their leadership.

Danny Manning's inaugural season in charge of the Deacons came to an end with mixed results. (USA Today Images)

Danny Manning’s inaugural season in charge of the Deacons came to an end with mixed results. (USA Today Images)

Boston College (13-18): The Eagles have now won four straight games and will take on 5th-seeded North Carolina on Wednesday afternoon. Hanlan was his usual all-around brilliant self on Tuesday, scoring 25 points, grabbing eight boards and dishing out five assists. In order to hang with the Tar Heels, though, he will need more help from the rest of the frontcourt than he received against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets enjoyed a +14 offensive rebound edge and outscored the Eagles in the paint by a commanding 18 points. Even though Kennedy Meeks may miss the game due to illness, expect North Carolina to attack the inside early and often, just as it did when the Heels defeated Boston College by 11 points in early February.

Virginia Tech (11-21): Buzz Williams may have a budding star developing in guard Jalen Hudson, whose 32 points on Tuesday represents the most ever for a Virginia Tech player in an ACC Tournament game (this is the Hokies’ 11th season in the league). The freshman from Richmond has already shown a keen ability to shine in games against tough competition. His three previous double-figure scoring games in ACC play were versus Notre Dame (12 points), at Syracuse (18) and in the recent overtime loss to Duke (23). In the postgame press conference, Williams called Hudson “our most talented player,” signaling that he has all the makings of a future all-ACC caliber player. The Hokies will face 6th-seeded Miami today, the same team that destroyed them in Blacksburg just a few short days ago.

Brad Jenkins (383 Posts)

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